BY SPNW Staff 10:40AM 07/09/2012

Mariners Reach ASG Break Mostly Broken

Manager Eric Wedge said last year’s better mark at the ASG break “wasn’t real.” But this year’s 36-51 “was real,” and was kinda pleased that. Boy, does he need an All-Star break.

Ichiro hit .261 in the first half and ranked second in the American League in making outs with 279. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

After the All-Star Game break, the Mariners try to re-energize Friday, when they begin the season’s second half with a three-game series against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers. Manager Erik Wedge hinted Sunday that Kevin Millwood will likely pitch the opener.

Wedge also indicated that Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas would face the Rangers over the weekend, but the order depends on how much work Hernandez receives in the All-Star Game Tuesday night in Kansas City.

Seattle reached the All-Star break with an American League-worst 36-51 mark, 16.5 games behind the Rangers and 7.5 games behind third-place Oakland in the division race. First-half notes:

TEAM

  • With a .414 winning percentage, the Mariners are on track to finish 67-95, the same record the club posted in 2011.
  • The Mariners reached the break 16.5 games behind the Rangers, the third-worst first-half deficit Seattle has faced in the past decade: -20.0 GB in 2008 (61-101) and -17.0 GB in 2004 (63-99).
  • 2012 is the 13th season the Mariners have had 50 losses at the break. Last time: 2010, 53 losses.
  • Mariners ended the first half having lost nine of 14 games, three by shutout and two by opponent walk-off hits, including back-to-back game-enders in Oakland Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Mariners held the lead in 23 of 51 losses, leading the majors, but also had 11 come-from-behind wins.
  • Mariners vs. Divisions: vs. AL East: 5-14; vs. AL Central: 9-11; vs. AL West: 14-16; vs. LAA: 2-5; vs. Oak: 7-6; vs. Tex: 5-5; vs. NL West:8-10; vs. interleague: 8-10.
  • Mariners had four walk-off wins (most recent, June 30 at Boston, Chone Figgins sacrifice fly in the 11th inning) and four walk-off losses (Sunday at Oakland, Josh Reddick, RBI double in the 13th inning).

BATTING

  • The Mariners rank 13th in batting average (.230), 14th in on-base percentage (.291), 14th in slugging (.358) and 14th in OPS (.649).
  • The Mariners hit .230 as a team in the first half, the second-lowest pre-ASG average in franchise history. The 2011 Mariners reached the break batting .225.
  • The Mariners hit .258 on the road during the first half vs. 195 at Safeco Field (.195 average worst in the AL; second-worst Tampa Bay hit .221 at home).
  • Mariners hit 158-for-654 (.242) with runners in scoring position.
  • Three Mariner regulars hit less than .205, Brendan Ryan (.187), Miguel Olivo (.201) and Justin Smoak (.203).
  • Mariners blanked 10 times in the first half, but also scored the most runs in a single game, 21 at Texas May 30.
  • Mariners had 24 games in which they struck out 10 or more times, with a high of 15 vs. Chicago April 20; ended first half by whiffing 35 times during the three-game series in Oakland. Their 681 strikeouts are fourth in the AL, 13 behind leader Baltimore.
  • Despite overall batting lameness, the Mariners ranked second in the majors with a .356 batting average (21-for-59) with the bases loaded (Tampa Bay, .358).
  • Ichiro hit a career-low .261 before the break, and 72 of his 93 hits were singles.
  • Ichiro made 279 outs (had a career-worst 0-for-23 slide that ended Saturday), second-highest total in the American League behind J.J. Hardy (Tampa Bay) at 289.
  • Ichiro was the AL’s hardest player to fan, whiffing once every 11.0 plate appearances.
  • Of Kyle Seager’s team-leading 52 RBIs, 37 came away from Safeco Field. Seager had 29 two-out RBIs, second in the major leagues.

PITCHING

  • Mariners ranked seventh in ERA (3.97), fifth in hits allowed (717), seventh in runs allowed (365), 12th in home runs allowed (100), sixth in walks (251) and sixth in strikeouts (653)
  • Mariners ranked fourth in the AL in home ERA at 3.14, second-lowest mark in club history behind the 3.01 pre-ASG mark posted in 2001.
  • All-Star Felix Hernandez, who allowed one earned run in 7.0 innings Sunday, has received one or fewer runs of support in 81 of 223 career starts, including 10 of 18 this season. Hernandez also had six starts in the first half in which he threw at least 8.0 innings while allowing one or fewer runs.
  • Jason Vargas led the American League with 23 home runs allowed and Hector Noesi, since dispatched to AAA Tacoma, ranked third with 20.
  • Noesi led the AL with 11 losses and also posted the longest losing streak in the league, eight games from May 12-July 4.
  • Opponents batted .226 off Seattle’s bullpen, third-lowest mark in the AL.

OPPONENTS

Several different ex-Mariners figured prominently in helping defeat Seattle in first-half contests, including {Mariner years in brackets}

  • April 19: Jack Hannahan {2009}, Indians, two-run single in the ninth off Brandon League in Tribe’s 2-1 win.
  • April 28: Brandon Morrow {2007-09}, Blue Jays, one earned run over 7.0 innings in 7-0 Toronto win.
  • May 11: Raul Ibanez {1995-00, ’04-08} Yankees, three-run homer off Felix Hernandez in 6-2 New York victory.
  • May 12: Ibanez, solo homer off Hector Noesi in 6-2 win.
  • May 15: David Ortiz {1992-96, Mariners system}, Red Sox, solo homer off Blake Beavan in 5-0 Red Sox win.
  • May 16: Shin-Soo Choo {2005-06} (3), Asdrubal Cabrera {2006-06, Mariners system} (2) and Jose Lopez {2004-10} (1) combined for six hits in 9-3 Cleveland win.
  • May 17: Casey Kotchman {2010} (2), Cabrera (2), Lopez (1), Choo (1) had six of Cleveland’s 10 hits, plus five RBIs, in a 6-5 Cleveland win.
  • July 4: Chris Tillman {2006-08, Mariners system} recorded first win of the year in a 4-2 Baltimore victory by allowing two runs over 8.1 innings.

YourThoughts

  • Jeff

    can someone explain to me how oakland gets reddick and norris and millone and parker and cook
    and we still dont make a trade that pays off? how the cardinals and the braves always compete even after losing superstars? how the pirates and reds and nationals are now contending?
    how tampa still has a winning record with its offense? we could go on
    the real question is why havent the mariners been able to do anything?
    discouraged and frustrated and angry season ticket holder

  • Jeff

    can someone explain to me how oakland gets reddick and norris and millone and parker and cook
    and we still dont make a trade that pays off? how the cardinals and the braves always compete even after losing superstars? how the pirates and reds and nationals are now contending?
    how tampa still has a winning record with its offense? we could go on
    the real question is why havent the mariners been able to do anything?
    discouraged and frustrated and angry season ticket holder

  • One174

    “Three Mariner regulars hit less than .205, Brendan Ryan (.187), Miguel Olivo (.201) and Justin Smoak (.203).”

    In a year or two, Smoak and Olivo will be traded for pitchers who can’t pitch and hitters who can’t hit. Each, relieved from the Curse of Safeco, will hit 275, and each will hit at least 25 home runs.

  • One174

    “Three Mariner regulars hit less than .205, Brendan Ryan (.187), Miguel Olivo (.201) and Justin Smoak (.203).”

    In a year or two, Smoak and Olivo will be traded for pitchers who can’t pitch and hitters who can’t hit. Each, relieved from the Curse of Safeco, will hit 275, and each will hit at least 25 home runs.